The Trifid Nebula was named by John Herschel over 200 years ago to describe its tri-lobed appearance. The cluster of stars at its center was listed
as entry #20 in Messier's Catalog about 20 years earlier.
The red component of the nebula is an emission nebula in the wavelengths of hydrogen. A bright young triple star at the center of the Trifid "lights the
fire" of surrounding hydrogen clouds. The three components of the triple star are too close to each other to be distinguished on this image. Below the
emission nebula, a faint blue reflection nebula is seen. Reflection nebulae are typically fainter than emission nebulae, as they are merely reflecting light,
not emitting light.
Because the Trifid nebula is so low in the sky for the northern US, I could only image for a short time as the nebula peeked above the trees. For the
image above, I combined exposures of 40 minutes red, 28 minutes green, and 36 minutes blue unbinned with a QSI583wsg through an Astro-physics
Honders 12" astrograph. For the image below obtained 6 years earlier, exposures were 15 minutes IDAS luminence, 5 minutes red and green and 10
minutes blue. I used a TEC 140mm refractor at f7 with an ST10XME camera.
Music: Light My Fire, by the Doors